Trinidad natgas cutback to extend at least until mid-January

30 November 2011 21:58  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The natural gas curtailment in Trinidad that has lasted for most of this year will extend at least until the first half of January 2012, an industry source said on Wednesday.

Natural gas production on an offshore platform should resume during the second week in January, said Sherwin Long, senior research specialist at the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago.

“That’s the word I’m getting,” Long said. “That’s what all the players say.”

The Caribbean island just off the coast of Venezuela produces 71% of US methanol imports and 80% of American ammonia imports at plants in Trinidad’s Point Lisas Industrial estate.

But natural gas supplies to Point Lisas have been cut by 15–30% each month for most of this year so UK oil and gas major BP can repair offshore gas platforms.

Methanol sources said in late October that producers were preparing for a 15% curtailment through the end of the year and into January.

Ammonia producers in Trinidad have shut down some plants because of the curtailment.

BP’s 13 offshore platforms supply about 65% of the gas to the state-owned utility, National Gas Co of Trinidad (NGC).

On 23 November, the energy minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kevin Ramnarine, said there was “light at the end of the tunnel” regarding the gas shortage.

In a speech, Ramnarine said production from the EOG Toucan Platform would begin at some point between mid-January and mid-February, providing “relief to the problem at Point Lisas.”

Ramnarine said the problem was not a lack of gas reserves but just poor coordination. He added that the energy ministry will begin holding quarterly production meetings next year to avoid future curtailments.

For more on methanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Lane Kelley
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